My last dinner at West

The restaurant West in Vancouver, BC has been a staple in the restaurant scene for years. Offering amazing service, a small welcoming room, incredible food and a wine list that’s been curated to be savored and enjoyed.

But, guess what? This iconic restaurant will be closing its doors at the end of 2019.

Therefore, I wanted to share with you my last dinner there in February during the Vancouver Int’l Wine Festival. And, it’s perfect timing for two reasons:

  1. You can start planning and take advantage of a discount for the next Vancouver Int’l Wine Festival, featuring France February 22 to March 1st! This is the largest consumer Wine Festival in North America, you really should not miss it! Starting November 6 at 9:30 a.m., wine lovers can save $10 off International Festival Tasting (IFT) tickets for the 42nd Vancouver International Wine Festival. Or book one of 39 downtown hotels available through StayVancouverHotels.com to get a free IFT ticket, a saving of up to $115. The Delta Air Lines Tasting Lounge and the Gold Pass are also on sale in advance at a discount.
  2. Enjoy West Restaurant before they close at the end of 2019. They are offering a Fall Prix Fixe, a 3-course menu that can be enjoyed Sundays through Thursdays and Friday & Saturday evening until 6 pm. West Restaurant

I hope this inspires you to try their wines, and perhaps get out to enjoy West Restaurant soon!

 

A stunning dinner paired with Stags’ Leap wines from Napa Valley, California, while sitting across from Joanne Wing, the winemaker…

You may know the name – Stags Leap from the historic name battle or from the Judgment of Paris which happened in 1976. Although Stags’ Leap Winery didn’t participate, it’s neighbour Stag’s Leap Winery did, which put them both on the international map because of their recognition at this judgement. “The Judgment of Paris” tasting at which the Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars 1973 S.L.V. Cabernet Sauvignon took top honors among the red wines, triumphing over two first-growth and other renowned wines of Bordeaux.”

There are two Stags Leap Wineries in Napa Valley. “This made Napa and the winery itself internationally renowned. The Stags Leap District is known for its rocky soils. There are two Stags Leap District wineries. Read carefully, Stag’s Leap and StagsLeap – make note of the singular vs. plural possessives.”

Joanne Wing, winemaker, Stags’ Leap Winery

Here is the beautiful menu prepared for the Stags’ Leap wines

 

Canapés

SAWMILL BAY OYSTERS

viognier jelly, dill, crispy parmesan, roasted mushroom, truffled chantilly

paired with: Stags’ Leap Viognier 2017, Napa Valley

This viognier was light and beautiful with medium acidity, making it so enjoyable.

 

First course

First Course

KANPACHI CRUDO

fennel, blood orange, coriander

paired with: Stags’ Leap Chardonnay 2016, Napa Valley

A medium style of chardonnay with vibrancy, it was the perfect pairing!

 

First Course

Second Course

BEETROOT SALAD

burrata cheese, avocado, pumpkin seed vinaigrette

paired with: Stags’ Leap Merlot 2016, Napa Valley

The earthy notes of the beets and burrata brought out the earth notes in the Merlot,

if you are not a Merlot lover – this would change you forever.

 

 

Third Course

SLOW COOKED PORK CHEEKS RAVIOLI

roasted onions, grana padano

paired with: Stags’ Leap Petite Sirah 2016, Napa Valley

The pork wasn’t too fatty, which brought out the sweeter notes of the wine.

The pairing made me think of pork sliders, and how this pairing would wow a crowd.

 

Entrée

Entrée

ROASTED HOLSTEIN STRIPLOIN

wild mushroom and leek tart, black truffle flakes and jus

paired with: Stags’ Leap The Investor Red Blend 2015, Napa Valley

This was my favourite out of the two, it lifted the flavours of the food and the wine

Stags’ Leap Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Napa Valley

A very big Cab, yet sooo smooth.

 

 

Cheese

WARM GOUGERES

st. albert cheese, preserved quince

paired with: Stags’ Leap The Leap Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Napa Valley

 

What an evening sharing time with the down to earth winemaker and enjoying an amazing dinner.

I never drink this much red wine, this time after harvest, I usually drink a beer.

– Joanne Wing, Winemaker, Stags’ Leap Winery

 

Until next time, keep exploring and enjoying more wine from around the world. Cheers!

The World of Zinfandel

Every year, Vancouver hosts one of the biggest consumer wine festivals in North America. And I make sure to go, as this fantastic festival offers seminars, events and a tasting for consumers and wine professionals.

This year, I was able to attend the “World of Zinfandel” seminar masterclass. And what a fantastic experience.

We tasted through some amazing Zinfandel wines from Croatia, Italy and the USA. Did you know that this iconic American grown grape derived from Croatia? It’s also known as Primitivo in Italy; and is grown in many wine regions in California. Did you also know California has the highest quantity of Zinfandel vines planted than anywhere else, even Croatia?

If you are not a regular supporter of this grape, I challenge you to give it another try. You really need to try different regions and producers in order to taste the style differences. I believe I’ve just fallen for this grape, all over again!

In order, here is what we got to taste and experience:

Korta Katarina Rosé 2017 – A blend of 35% Zinfandel & 65% Plavac Mali (a cross between ancestral Zinfandel and Dobričić a local grape); soft, herbal, great acidity and so refreshing. And believe it or not it ages well (a rosé that ages, what?!).

Korta Katarina Reubens Private Reserve 2008 – Made solely of Plavic Mali – this was a mature wine, definitely an expression of the area with its chalky tannins.

Krolo Crljenak Kastelanski 2015 – Grown just 30 km from the Adriatic sea, these 15-year-old vines showed this 100% Zinfandel very well, with red and black fruits, nice balance of acidity and a fresh herbal note.

*Masseria Surani Dionysos Primitivo di Manduria Riserva 2011 – From the region of Puglia in Italy, this Primitivo had intense, ripe fruits on the nose, with tertiary notes on the palate, dusty tannins, balance and vibrant acidity. The star means I liked it, lots!

Louis M Martini Monte Rossi Gnarly Vines Zinfandel 2009 – The Monte Rosso vineyard was planted originally in the late 1800’s in California – crazy to think about that isn’t it?! “This wine was sooo smooth, herbal, nicely balanced with acidity and deep red and black fruits, gorgeous” – from my seminar notes.

*Grgich Hill’s Estate Miljenko’s Old Vine Napa Valley Zinfandel 2014 – This winery also has a winery in Croatia, so they are connected to their roots. This Zin had tobacco notes, black fruits, again balanced with herbal notes. Super approachable!

Myself and Barb Wild a wine colleague

Hess Collection Artezin Mendocino County Zinfandel 2016 – This wine was made from 45-50 year old vines. A young and vibrant wine with good body, texture with red and black fruit notes, they use no oak to showcase the Mendocino, California – Zinfandel style.

Ravenswood Teldeschi Vineyard Zinfandel Dry Creek Valley 2014 – These vines were planted in 1904 in this California region. What a pretty wine, which was blended with a touch of Petite Sirah and Carignan. It was spicy, with dark fruits and it was zippy. I love zippy.

Ridge Vineyards East Bench Zinfandel 2016 – Someone mentioned this with Pulled Pork or Ribs, and then I was hooked. Youthful, zippy (there it is again), spicy, red and black fruit profile with chalky tannins. Californ-i-a!

Lange Twins Centennial Zinfandel 2011 – The co-founder and farmer is a twin, hence the name. This is their 125th vintage from the vineyard. Typical bold style (from Lodi, California) Zinfandel – herbal, mineral, deep black fruits and gentle tannins, smooth and rich.

Klinker Brick Old Ghost Zinfandel 2015 – Not what you’re expecting, not what I was expecting! Smooth, pretty, floral, rich & lush. *102 year old vineyard. California beauty.

 

Until next time, keep exploring wines of the world.